The Ship That Had Sailed

A Vignette by Mylochka

(Standard Year 2253)

Return to Valjiir Stories
Return to Valjiir Continnum

The thing about dating ‘pathic women – and being considerably on the ‘pathic side yourself – was that when something was bothering them, there was only so long a man could credibly ignore it.  Therefore, pressed for time as he was, Noel Delmonde broke away from the report he was working on long enough to inquire, “Wassa matter, baby?” 

Calaya Wheal pressed her full lips together discontentedly and crossed her arms.  “I feel such hesitancy in you…” she replied, tilting her head to one side. “It makes no sense to me.” 

The engineer rubbed his weary eyes and blew out a long breath.  The yeoman had to know the sort of pressure he was under to get the document he was working on completed – particularly since she was stationed in his quarters at this very moment waiting to for him to finish it so she could hand-deliver it to the Lincoln’s captain.  And yet, here she was, hitting him with what had the distinct odor of a BIG RELATIONSHIP MOMENT –the nature or significance of which he had no clue. 

“Well, you know, we not been together all that long,” he temporized cheerfully, trying to make his mind continue to work on fuel consumption curves simultaneously. “We still gettin' used to each other, non? We gotta see how this t'ing gonna roll out, right?” 

Wheal’s brows lifted.  “Roll out?” 

“Yeah, yeah…”  He gestured vaguely with the hand that wasn’t typing.  “We still gettin' a feel fo' how this t'ing between us shapin' up… You know, see how much we like each other…” 

Like each other?” the yeoman repeated with a tone that had the bright color of indignation. 

“Yeah, sure,” he affirmed absently. “You know…” 

“Noel DelMonde.”  Wheal firmly grasped his fingers, lifted them off the keyboard, and waited until his eyes were focused on hers. “You are in love with me.” 

“Oh…”  Del blinked in surprise at the stern expression on the very beautiful face before him.  “Mais…” At this range it was quite difficult to deny the feelings that welled up inside him.  The part of his brain that was still trying to complete the equation he’d been struggling to formulate made his eyes take one last side glance at his computer screen as it skidded to an ungainly halt, realizing that the necessity of making the captain’s deadline had just been temporarily superseded by the immediate priority of dealing with the BIG RELATIONSHIP MOMENT that had just descended unexpectedly upon him.  “Yeah… uhm…” He smiled weakly. “There is that.” 

She did not smile back. “Yes,” she replied as if she expected more. 

“Honey…”  He sighed affectionately as he pushed his chair back from his desk and pulled her into his lap. “Since you an empath and I a telepath – meanin' that you know exactly how I feel an' I know that you know exactly how I feel – I guess I have to be a pretty special kind o' combination ' jackass an' dumbass to deny what I feelin', non?” 

“Yes,” his girlfriend replied, more pointedly than was entirely polite. 

“Well,” he said, forgiving her with a kiss to her sweet silver forehead. “There we are then.” 

Instead of being satisfied with this answer, she continued to frown, holding him fixed in her silver searchlight gaze. 

“Noel.” She brushed a stray curl back from his face. “You seem afraid.” 

The trouble with dating ‘pathic girls was sometimes they could hit you so hard with little truths about yourself that it could knock the wind out of a man. 

Del had to take a long pause and absorb the reopening of a hundred old wounds before he could acknowledge, “Baby, I not had th' best o' luck wit' bein' in love. …Women -- you know -- be fallin' in love wit' other people… dyin'… heinous shit like that…” 

The yeoman’s touch on his shoulder was comforting, but the look she was giving him was still stern.  “I did not take you to be a superstitious person.” 

The engineer wiped his eyes, which had grown moist for some reason.  “Generally, no.” 

“Do you feel you are under a curse?” she asked, crossing her arms with a prosecutorial air. “Do you think that because your previous relationships ended badly, that somehow predestines me to meet with misfortune should I become involved with you?  Is this a belief you subscribe to?” 

Del’s lips twitched a little.  The accumulation of tragedies, misfortunes, and disappointments in his life did make him feel at times as if he were under a malediction.  And Calaya was absolutely right.  He was hesitating and holding back from a deeper commitment to a relationship with her out of a fear that the patterns of his past would repeat themselves.  He was fearful of having his crookedly stitched together heart torn asunder again. 

However, looking at her now with her sweet dark lips pressed into a determined frown and her twinkling fairy eyes fixed upon him sternly, she was just too adorable for words.  How could one help but love such a beautiful, brilliant, irresistibly darling soul who cared for one so deeply? 

“No,” he replied, clearing his throat determinedly and straightening in his chair.  “I suppose I not really believe those t'ings. I had me some bad luck, so sometimes I feel that way… but no, that not officially a belief I subscribe to that you need t' worry yourself about, sweetheart.” 

“Good.”  She gave his shoulder an affirming pat.  “Because the vessel… uhm…” 

“What is it, honey?” Del asked when the yeoman paused. 

“There is a human nautical metaphor…” Wheal bit her thumb as she tried to recall. “The boat has launched? No… The vessel has disembarked?” 

“That ship has sailed?” The engineer suggested. 

“Yes!” She snapped her fingers in acknowledgment of his correct guess.  “Because when it comes to a question of our falling in love, Noel, that ship has already sailed. We are in love.  We are in a relationship – a good one. There is no need to…” 

“Wait a minute,” the Cajun interrupted, as the identity of a human who liked to use nautical metaphors suddenly occurred to him. “Wait one damned minute… Now, exactly why was it that Captain Kirk needed these fuel consumption reports at 0:300? An' why they need t' be hand-delivered by his personal yeoman? The comm systems down or somet'ing?” 

The serious expression on his girlfriend’s face did not flicker, but she did have the grace to glow a bit. 

“It can be difficult to get your full attention at times, Noel,” she admitted.  “Just as difficult as it can sometimes be to get the fuel consumption reports in on time.” 

“Ah, I see...” The engineer lifted an eyebrow as he leaned back and nodded. “So you an' him talked it over an' decided to use a li'l psychology t' see if you could get me t' focus on workin' out my problems, non?” 

The yeoman apologized with a slight smile and stroked his cheek with a touch so tender it defeated all efforts to resent such a conspiratorial stratagem. 

“We both care for you very much, Noel,” she confirmed. 

“In different ways, I hope,” he grumbled, in a pretense of resistance. 

“Very,” she said, snuggling against his shoulder. 

He turned his chair back towards his computer screen, grousing, “I still got all this damned work t' do.” 

“I will help you,” she promised, giving him a delicious kiss on his neck. 

“Girl,” he relented, with a sigh, “I do love you, you know.” 

“This is what I have been trying to tell you, Noel,” she whispered in reply.   

The End

To go to the next story in chronological sequence, click here

Return to Valjiir Stories

Return to Valjiir Continnum